Red Sox ratings up 40 percent this season, per report
Stats show the 2018 Red Sox have become enormously likable thus far this season.
After an unlikeable Red Sox team took the field in 2017 with viewership ratings down 20 percent on NESN, a similar roster returned for 2018.
That same team has completely flipped viewership ratings up 40 percent, per WEEI.
While the sample size consists of a mere 10 games, the Red Sox are off to a historic 9-1 start, including five one-run victories.
This Red Sox team is no stranger to one-run ballgames. They struggled with mixed results last year, going 21-20 out of 41 one-run contests. A 5-0 start in one-run affairs this season is an impressive start, proposing the notion that the Red Sox may be maturing when the going gets tough.
The ratings for Boston’s dramatic comeback win against the Tampa Bay on Sunday may surprise some on how wide the gap is between the Red Sox and other sports in Boston. The Bruins drew a 5.5 and the Celtics checked in at a 1.5 for their borefest against the Hawks, per WEEI’s Alex Reimer.
Some local media outlets have claimed the Red Sox aren’t as interesting as past teams, and take a back seat to the Patriots, Bruins and Celtics.
Those claims are wildly inaccurate based off TV viewership, yet, the Red Sox are actually off their ticket sale pace, according to President Sam Kennedy. Kennedy told “Kirk & Callahan” last week they’re down six percent in sales so far this season.
However, it’s only been three games at home against the Rays, and one against the Yankees last night, so it may be a product of people not wanting to pay to watch inferior talent.
Of course, people may not be thrilled about paying to sit in the frigid Boston weather either. A warm game in May or June may entice fans to pay high ticket prices, rather than sit in Fenway on a blistering cold day in April.
With viewership on the rise, the Red Sox may recapture the spotlight as Boston’s most beloved team. It’s a long season and the Red Sox have plenty of redemption to achieve, but with a slew of young talent combined with determined veterans, the team once again seems unified — something that hasn’t been said too often.
This current roster may never reach the likability that the “idiots” did in 2004 when they broke the Curse of the Bambino, nor the goofball personalities of 2007’s team who won three years later.
Jonathan Papelbon was a village idiot, but he was our idiot — and he was the last beloved closer who sustained a long run in Boston.
After all, who could forget this?
The 2018 Red Sox will never top 2013’s team either. Nothing more than bearded men causing mayhem and hated by the rest of the U.S. says “Boston” like 2013’s squad. Not to mention, the Red Sox brought Boston together as a city after the horrific Boston Marathon Bombing. It’s hard for any Red Sox team to ever top that.
While the current team won’t become as lovable as past squads, but that doesn’t mean they can’t leave their own legacy. The more winning that’s done, the more grit that’s shown, the more likable they’ll become.
The Red Sox still remain behind the Patriots in viewership and investment, but going the distance in a year where the Patriots failed to could restore some balance to the Boston market.
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Tom Brady and Bill Belichick’s days are numbered. But the young core of the Red Sox are just getting started, as is their opportunity to recapture Boston.